When people hear that I've written several novels, many of them ask me where I get my inspiration. The answer is: I get ideas two ways, from real life and from my imagination. I've always been a nonfiction writer, but my career as a novelist began several years ago after I read a small newspaper article about a strange weather phenomenon called a "dust devil," a miniature tornado that's strong enough to toss dust and dirt into the air.
In the little news clip that inspired me, a dust devil lifted the roof off an auto body shop, collapsing most of the building, and killing the owner. Since the story was so weird—and it happened in Maine—I was sure Stephen King would write a book about some kind of supernatural dust.
I put the article aside and forgot about it. When I found the story again years later, I realized Stephen King had never written a novel about weird dust. Suddenly, I had an idea, which turned out to be the basis for my first book, DUST. Of course, my red, green, and blue whirlwind is much more mysterious—and much more evil. For information about the original news clip and other dust devil stories, please see Real "Dust" Events.
The premise for my second novel, Peachwood Lake, came from another newspaper story, this one a front page New York Times article about gulf sturgeons, large bony fish, that—for reasons unknown—jump in a Florida river each summer, sometimes injuring boaters. Of course, my fictional jumping fish is a lot stranger—and a lot meaner.
As you can see, it's good to read the newspaper. Besides finding out what's happening in the world, you might get a novel idea!
But not all of my ideas for novels come from newspapers. The inspiration for my third paranormal thriller, the newly published The Disappearance, came directly from my brain. No outside source was involved. Since I've always loved reading time travel stories, I thought it would be fun to write one. The great thing about time travel is, since it doesn't exist, I can make up the rules and decide how my characters journey through time and how far into the past or future they can go.
The ideas for my fourth and fifth (not yet published) novels also came from my imagination. Both incorporate supernatural themes that I love. Corsonia deals with mind control and it takes place in rugged northeastern Nevada. The Touchers, which I'm currently working on, is an end-of-the world story. My concept of the world's demise isn't from the usual sources: nuclear bomb, alien invasion, meteor, or deadly disease. It's a gentler annihilation and it starts with bubbles.
And the ideas keep coming...
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